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‘Genre-bending’ David Sanford Big Band to perform at UB

David Sanford Big Band during a performance.

David Sanford leads the David Sanford Big Band, a group of 20 musicians specializing in jazz, avant-garde, classical, funk and Latin genres. The band will perform at UB on March 28.


Published March 21, 2023


The David Sanford Big Band, described by NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabar as “energetic … and avant garde,” will bring its genre-bending style to UB for a performance on March 28.

The concert, presented by the Department of Music with support from the Center for the Arts and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

The band will also hold an open rehearsal and masterclass at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, on March 27 in Lippes Concert Hall, as well as take part in an outreach/residency activity for aspiring musicians at Buffalo’s City Honors School at 1 p.m. that day between the two events at UB.

David Sanford’s music resides in a space between the Renaissance madrigal, the Second Viennese School and King Crimson. With his 20-piece ensemble, Sanford, who is Elizabeth T. Kennan Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College, as well as director of the David Sanford Big Band, gives subtle nods to Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Sly and The Family Stone and Miles Davis, among others, while delivering a fresh, original and cutting-edge big band experience.

All compositions for the UB concert are by Sanford, except Moors of Spain by Hugh Ragin, and Three Card Molly by Elvin Jones (arranged by Sanford):


Full Immersion



Long Time Coming

     heaven just a whisper



     everything still to come

Moors of Spain


Woman in Shadows

Una Notte all'Opera

Three Card Molly

Tickets are $20. Advance tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster, at the Center for the Arts box office from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or at the Slee Hall box office beginning an hour before concert time. UB students with valid ID receive one complimentary ticket for each UB music department concert at the door.

The New York-based David Sanford Big Band — formerly the Pittsburgh Collective — was formed in 2003 and comprises 20 musicians specializing in jazz, avant-garde, classical, funk and Latin genres.

Along with presenting original works written expressly for the ensemble, the group performs big band literature that draws heavily on classical idioms (Stravinsky), classical works (Tomkins, Mahler) and popular music (Nick Cave, Sia), as well as jazz standards (Gillespie, Mingus, Elvin Jones).

The band’s most recent album, A Prayer for Lester Bowie (Greenleaf Music), was the No. 7 jazz album of the year on the Jazz Times magazine critics poll. “Subtraf” from the same album was named one of “The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2021” by The New York Times.